It was recently shown that the injection of autologous vitreous beneath the retina of rabbits leads to retinal degeneration, subretinal cellular proliferation and neovascularization. The current study, using electron microscopy, was designed to determine the cellular processes involved in the breakdown of Bruch's membrane in this model. Bruch's membrane was not mechanically damaged by the injection and appeared intact for the first 1 to 2 days after injection. Subsequently, numerous breaks in Bruch's membrane were found associated with invasion of macrophages and fibroblasts; in addition, budding and penetration of retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) and choroidal endothelial cells into Bruch's membrane were noted. Although it was not proven that these cells, per se, were responsible for the breaks, that these cells actively penetrate Bruch's membrane is a reasonable hypothesis.
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